Mercedes’ Formula 1 car returns to the colour black. This time it is not so much a statement against racism and discrimination but purely to save weight. “We lost a few grams by leaving the auto matt carbon,” said team boss Toto Wolff of the German racing stable at the presentation of the W14.
In 2020 and 2021, Mercedes also moved away from the traditional silver-grey colour and raced the car around the circuits in black. It was mainly at the initiative of leader Lewis Hamilton, who emphatically asserted himself as a champion of equal rights and treatment for everyone.
Hamilton looked at the black racing car with great pleasure. “She looks great in black. Very exciting,” said the seven-time world champion. The 38-year-old Briton did not win a single Grand Prix last year for the first time since entering Formula 1 in 2007 and finished sixth in the championship.
Hamilton is entering his eleventh season at Mercedes. It will be his third year for his teammate George Russell. He won his first race in the premier class last year: the Grand Prix of Brazil.
Mercedes experienced a challenging year in 2022. The German team thought it had incorporated the new aerodynamic rules into a super-fast car, but Hamilton and Russell could not interfere in the battle at the front between Red Bull and Ferrari. As a result, the car had a lot of ‘bouncing’.
“It was a difficult season. We started with a car that was not good, and it took us a very long time to understand why the car was not performing,” said Wolff. “It wasn’t until the end of the season that we got a little faster. I hope we can be back at the front from the first race this year. The new car looks nice; let’s hope it is as fast as it looks.”
Wolff explained that last year’s car suffered from excess weight. “We looked for every opportunity to get some grams off, and that’s why you see a lot of rough bits of carbon. We painted some parts matte black.”
Hamilton again hinted during the presentation that he would not stop for the time being. Although his current contract expires after this year, the plan is to extend his contract. “I love racing, and it’s in my DNA. I like the physical and mental challenge and believe I can still improve.”
Hamilton and Russell will drive their first test laps in the new car later Wednesday at the Silverstone circuit. The official test races of Formula 1 start on February 23. The first race is on March 5: the Grand Prix of Bahrain.